Travel is good for lots of things, but it can also increase mental well-being – and not just in the short-term. Whether you’re traveling for business, on a one-week family holiday, or have sold everything to pursue a life on the road, traveling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories, breaking routine and allowing you to meet people from all over the world.
So the next time you find yourself heading out on a shopping spree to lift your mood, why not put that money towards a flight instead? Here are 10 reasons why travelling is SO important for us, and why every one of us should schedule at least one trip to a new country every year.
The greatest gift travel gives us is that of open-mindedness. It allows us to expand our minds and look beyond what we know. It compels us to try new things, new experiences, new food, new clothes, new languages and when you are able to find the beauty in this newness, you become a better person, because you have finally stepped out of your comfort zone.
You have opened the locks of your own bound and limited thinking and are willing to accept what you don’t know. This open mind is certainly going to help you make the most of all opportunities that life will present you with.
2. Confrontation with the inner self
When we travel, we are often confronted with the feelings of our heart that scare us. We worry about our safety and well being, because it’s a big step out of our comfort zone.
We may not have our parents to care for us, and we may not know how to converse with the people there, or we may be afraid of getting lost. It’s absolutely normal to feel that way. Because only when you are facing these fears is when you will learn to overcome them.
3. Independence & Confidence
Following the previous point, when you rise above your insecurities, you experience an exhilarating feeling of independence and confidence which isn’t worth trading for anything! To know that you can do anything you like, that feeling is priceless!
4. Being away makes you appreciate family and home
Being away from things we often take for granted — family, close friends, home — makes us appreciate them more. Calling home isn’t a chore, but something to look forward to: no one enjoys listening to your envy-inducing travel stories more than your parents, so it’s the perfect excuse to wax lyrical about whatever place with which you’ve just fallen in love.
5. Detox from social media
Social media can be used for both good and bad, but it’s healthy for everyone to have a break from the internet every once in a while. Wi-fi is so prevalent that it’s hard to turn off and you can quite often find yourself tuning out whatever amazing place you’re in with your face in your phone, checking Twitter, scrolling through your Facebook feed, checking your emails… stop.
Turn it off. Better yet, find somewhere with no reception and no wi-fi so that you don’t have a choice. It’s liberating and allows you to better enjoy the ‘here and now’, which nicely ties into the following point.
6. Education, Education, Education
Whether it’s learning a new skill such as cooking Thai food or learning a new language, travel presents ways in which we can further our knowledge and education. Learning makes our brains more active, which psychologists have found increases our level of happiness – particularly when learning something we find enjoyable.
7. You’re more interesting
You don’t need to be a ‘travel bore’ to have a few interesting stories to tell. Traveling throws up a lot of bizarre, funny and sometimes serious situations that relating back to people will make you — at least — feel interesting.
Making someone laugh is an easy way to instantly bump up your self-esteem, so hold on to those embarrassing memories — no matter how much they might make you cringe.
8. The effects of traveling aren’t just short-term
Aside from making you happier in the short-term, traveling can make you a much more contented, happy and relaxed person in the long run, too. Of course, most travel enthusiasts are constantly planning their next trip, but when we’re at home or past a point of being able to jet off whenever we like, past travels leave us with the memories and personal skills – such as confidence, broad-mindedness, friends and a more worldly perspective — that make people happy. And that’s why travel makes you a happier person.
9. Travel broadens your horizons and shows you that we are all connected
Learning about new cultures and places is one of the best ways of being educated in life. By traveling, we are able to do this. In every place you travel to, you can learn endless amounts of information about the place, the people, and their culture. This helps you to broaden your horizons in life and adapt a totally global view in the world.
As you travel, you also start to see how interconnected we are as humans. Yes, our cultures may be totally different but the fundamental things are the same. Although you may not share the same language with people you meet while traveling.
10. Travel gives you time to relax
Our world is increasingly getting faster and faster. This is why I truly believe more than ever that everyone needs to take time to travel.
Traveling gives you the time to stop and slow down. It is important that we truly let ourselves relax and sometimes let go of all of our responsibilities in life.